The Bulldogs will be back in action this weekend against the Texas A&M Aggies who just came off probably their biggest win since taking down 2nd ranked Alabama last season. I must admit the Aggies played a great game pulling off the first big SEC upset of 2022, but now the Aggies will be heading to Starkville to face the Mississippi State football squad that I still don’t think has shown their true potential this season so far.
This weekend is going to be a directional point for the Bulldogs a true turning point for this season. A win puts Mississippi State at 4-1 on the season with a strong chance at seven or even eight wins this season. If the Bulldogs can get to the eight wins mark, their bowl game options greatly improve and so does next year’s recruiting class. Yet if the Bulldogs come up short and fall to the Aggies any bowl becomes a serious question with the remaining schedule. So let’s talk Hail State football with the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly against the Bowling Green Falcons.
Mississippi State Football: The Good
So far this season Will Rogers has shown that he has taken a positive step forward in his approach to the Air Raid offense. He is truly seeing the field better and having so many more weapons to choose from helps as well. Receivers Caleb Ducking and Rara Thomas have raised the bar on expectations from this more veteran receiving corps.
To supplement a much-improved passing game, the run game seems to have crept its way into Mike Leach’s game plan with a little bit more consistency for at least three games this season, but I will still say to truly make this Air Raid offense a championship caliber concept, it will need a pro-style quarterback with true dual threat run abilities. That is the only way to counteract the drop eight pass defense. Every time a defense drops eight then it is giving up five to seven yards a play. Amen, I’ll take that all day long.
Mississippi State Football: The Bad
As stated above the run game has been integrated more into Leach’s Air Raid game plan, but it seems that Leach has not committed to the run game being effective. I state this because the run plays have been 80 percent between the tackles. I think that in a very pass-heavy offense that an effective run game will help produce desired results if, and I say again if, it is effective.
First and foremost, to run the ball the line needs to know how to run block. The Bulldogs need to create more eye candy for the opposing defense with more motions, misdirection run plays, and more dual-set backfields. This keeps the opposing linebackers in check by creating more passing lanes while helping to reduce the rush or blitz, that LSU used all night in Death Valley which was very successful in the second half of that nightmare.
Mississippi State Football: The Ugly
This was the easiest observation of the season, and it pains me to put it out there like this, but God help us if we ever need the second-string offense. It looked horrible and it was against a Bowling Green defense that had been worked over for nearly four quarters. I don’t think I have ever, and I mean ever seen a drop off that big from the first string to the second string group like what we all saw this past Saturday. Yeah, that was UGLY, but I have full faith that they will be much better during their next outing. Fingers crossed.
This week’s prediction is based on being at home in Starkville, the only problem is playing in the afternoon compared to a prime-time night game. The Aggies have shown the ability to stay in a tough game as they pulled off the upset last week against No. 10 Arkansas at a neutral site in Dallas, but I think the Mississippi State fans will bring their own 12th man this Saturday in Starkville. It will be close, but the Bulldogs pull out their first SEC victory of the season.
Prediction Week 5:
Mississippi State: 24
Texas A&M: 21